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UFC’s Joe Lauzon says fighters’ union is unlikely because of ‘selfish stance’ of peers

“Francis Ngannou is fighting the UFC, but he’s not fighting to get the other fighters more money, he’s fighting to get himself more money.”

Because of constant rumblings about unfair treatment within the MMA community, many have called for fighters to come together and unionize. While it does seem like a viable idea, veterans like Joe Lauzon don’t see it happening any time soon, if at all.

In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, the 37-year-old explained why.

“I don’t think so,” Lauzon said when asked if a fighters’ union would happen. “Francis Ngannou is fighting the UFC, but he’s not fighting to get the other fighters more money, he’s fighting to get himself more money. That’s just the way it goes.

“Francis Ngannou has been, ‘I have done this, I have the title, I want these things for me.’ He’s not saying he wants this for the other guys. It’s kind of a selfish stance when people take it on, they fight, and they argue, and it’s never, ‘Everyone needs to get paid more.’ There’s a couple of people who would do that, but it’s never the guys near the top.

“Generally, it’s the people that try to get up to the UFC, got to the UFC, but maybe they didn’t do well, and then on their way out, they’re complaining about it after the fact. The guys that have done very, very well, have generally not been those guys.”

Lauzon says he’s always had a good relationship with the UFC, and for that, many think of him as an “anti-fighter.” But he says he just understands the power behind the UFC’s brand name.

“It’s always hard because I’m looked at as anti-fighter and pro-UFC because I think the UFC does a good job,” he said. “I’ve never had a bad interaction with the UFC in regards to anything. I’ve always had tons of respect for them, they’ve always been super respectful to me, everything’s always been great.

“I always want the fighters to make more money, but at the same time, you’ve got to keep in mind that the draw is generally the UFC brand. There’s been a lot of fighters who have gone elsewhere, and sometimes they say they’re making better money.

“Sometimes they say it’s not been as good, or it hasn’t been as polished, or this and that. There’s always gonna be pros and cons. For me, I’ve always had a great relationship with the UFC. They’ve always treated me super and I have nothing bad to say about them.”

Ultimately, Lauzon says it’s all about the need to “understand what’s going on.”

“I can totally understand how the UFC can be iron-fisted when it comes to negotiations and stuff like that, but that’s their job,” he said. “The fighters are gonna do the same thing, [they’re] gonna have a heavy hand on things too. Both sides are gonna negotiate and fight to the best of their ability — in the ring and in contract negotiations — and they’re gonna use whatever assets and tools they have.

“If you don’t want to fight with the UFC, I suggest you don’t fight with the UFC. If you’re not prepared to fight with the UFC, don’t fight the UFC, and I think that’s what it comes down to.

“If I have a little two-pound dog, and I have a 90-pound pit bull — which is the UFC — I would not encourage that two-pound dog to get that dog bone that you might be entitled to,” he continued. “Maybe you need to kind of understand what’s going on here and understand how it all is. I think a lot of fighters, a lot of people look at me like I’m anti-fighter, and I’m not anti-fighter.

“Of course, I want all the fighters to make more money. I would love for the UFC to do lifelong health insurance for anybody that’s had x number of fights — 10 fights, 12, 15, whatever it’s gonna be. I would love to have all that stuff. But if it doesn’t make sense, then it doesn’t make sense.

“There’s always gonna be headlines of fighters pushing back, whether it’s Mark Hunt, or whoever else pushing back on things. But that’s just the nature of it. I’m of the mindset that I’m not gonna pick a fight I don’t want to get into.”

Lauzon (28-15) hasn’t seen action since his October 2019 win over Jonathan Pearce. He will return to action against fellow veteran Donald Cerrone at UFC 274 on May 7th.